Leftfield vs. Prodigy – Poison Inspection mash-up…
“What do we do now?” Luke wants to know. “Are we going to get the treasure back?”
“And the diary?” I add, with more empathy in my voice for poor Mr. Dry Senior than I was expecting. I try not to make eye contact with Carvery Slaughter. “She can’t just go around stealing other people’s diaries for God knows what diabolical reason…”
Crispin Dry nods, gloomily, while his brother Homer wanders off to dance around a hieroglyph-covered pillar – humming to himself, shedding red sequins and the occasional ostrich feather.
“I think you may be right, Sarah Bellummm,” Crispin’s zombie monotone agrees. “That clockwork hand allegedly contains other powers, which if unlocked could permanently alter the fabric of the Universe itself. My father was obsessed with trying to analyse the hand’s potential, as he believed it could cure the curse of the zombies… but in the wrong… hands, he knew that its potential as a weapon would be exploited.”
Homer does a pirouette, and attempts the splits, up against the pillar. It’s like watching an X-rated deleted scene from Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
“So we need a plan,” Luke prompts.
“Don’t look now, Ace,” Carvery remarks. “But I think your bath is ready.”
Two zombies – in the token loincloths and red leather chaps – are approaching from the far side of the huge pyramid shrine, both bearing folded towels, and scattering rose petals.
“Really?” Ace sighs. “That nymphomaniac zombie queen was serious?”
“That’s the Dry dude’s mother you’re talking about!” Luke says, giving him a thump on the arm. “But as I recall – she did mention you needed a wash…”
“Yeah – you’ve got to take one for the team,” Carvery tells him. “Here’s your chance to distract her.”
“Catch her off-guard,” Luke nods in approval. “I like it.”
“It is an idea…” Crispin ponders. “All we need to do is recover the golden hand and the diary while she is – preoccupied.”
“I have a few rules I like to live by,” Ace announces. “Never do a bro’s ho’s, mo’s, or pro’s. Especially if they’re over four thousand years old. No granny fanny. Or tranny fanny. No offence, Homey.”
“Ouuuuch…” Homer tries to hang upside-down from the pillar, and collapses head-first, in a heap.
“Come on, fella,” Carvery urges. “She’s not that dusty. And in the bath, you’ll barely notice the squeak. Look at it this way – if you had to choose between her and Sarah, who would you do – if your life depended on it?”
My mouth drops open. The nerve! But a small part of my ego wants to know the answer…
“Good point,” he concedes. “How long do you guys think you’ll need?”
NOT the answer I was hoping for… my shattered ego crawls back under its rock.
The zombies stop in front of us, and indicate for him to join them.
“She may retain the diary close at hand,” Crispin warns. “Keep your eyes peeled.”
“Crispin, the only thing my eyes are going to stay peeled for, is keeping a look out for if she tries to sneak up on me with any Stone Age whips and dildo shit,” Ace tells him. “My job is the distracting. Yours is the snooping around. All right – let’s get this horny bitch-demon seen to.”
And he heads off with the two zombie attendants, shoving one of them aside, as it tries to shower him with rose-petals.
My ego, peering out from under its rock of shame, sees a narrow margin of opportunity.
“I could follow,” I suggest. “And see if I can pick up any clues there, while the rest of you search the surrounding rooms.”
“Pervert,” Carvery mutters.
I’m as mysterious as mud to him, obviously.
“Excellent idea,” Crispin concurs. “We will meet back outside on the main deck of the barge in an hour, should we all become separated.”
An hour? The thought burns into my brain, as I scurry after Ace Bumgang and his zombie escorts. What on Earth will he find to distract the Lady Glandula de Bartheline with, for an hour?
The zombies lead Ace down some more steps, by appearances heading deeper into the bowels of the humungous ship, and along a wide pillared hall. Hundreds of candles illuminate it – on every available surface, and hanging from chandeliers in the ceiling.
I try to stay in the shadow of the pillars as I follow, attempting to keep within earshot. But no conversation occurs between Ace and the zombies, en route.
At the end of the great hall is a mysterious room divided only from the rest by gauzy silk drapes, and beyond the drapes is the biggest sunken marble bath-tub I’ve ever seen.
The water ripples invitingly over the edges, featuring more of those red rose-petals. And the scent of roses, citrus and vanilla is heavy in the moist air, rather like having Turkish Delight forced up your nasal cavity until you start to go unconscious…
The zombies hold aside the silk drapes for Ace to pass through, and emboldened by the patches of shade in the folds of the translucent fabric, I creep closer.
The Lady Glandula appears from the far side, swathed only in a strip of similar silk voile, sari-style, also attended by two zombies.
One of whom has in his possession the leather-bound diary – and the other, the clockwork hand.
So it looks as though she doesn’t plan to let either out of her sight.
“How good of you to join me, Ace Bumgang,” she greets him, in her catlike purr. “Can I offer you a refreshment?”
She gestures towards the bar, flanking the side of the room, where thousands of crystal decanters are displayed, containing a multitude of differently-coloured liquids.
“I’m good, thanks,” says Ace. “I already puked a rainbow this morning.”
“So I see,” she smiles. “I find alcohol such a wonderful disinhibitor of preliminary niceties, don’t you?”
And she drops the scrap of silk sari – another of Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft impersonators, I note, and scold myself for having enacted such a contrived scene already – and she steps slowly down into the tub. Displaced water gently rolls over the sides and down the shallow lip, like a decadently slow-motion Victoria Falls.
“Mrs. Bartheline, are you trying to seduce me?” Ace asks.
“Is that what you want me to do, Ace Bumgang?” she croons. “Seduce you? I may simply see a man who needs a wash. Join me.”
“All right,” he grunts. “But only because I know you older birds can’t reach your own backs to scrub them…”
And then I nearly scream out loud.
Because a long tentacle whips out of the tub, showering the silk curtain between us with water droplets – and snatches Ace Bumgang off his feet, dragging him bodily into the sunken bath with the zombie monster queen.
“You men always give in so easily,” she smiles, as the tip of the tentacle curls lovingly around Ace’s ear to tickle it.
I notice in perverse horror and revulsion that the alien appendage is covered in rose-petal-shaped, lip-like suckers, which make kissing noises wherever they touch his wet skin. Both of her arms rest along the edge of the tub at her sides, not touching him at all.
“I’m not going to ask what part of you this is attached to,” Ace replies, bracing himself against the marble in turn, as the tentacle tugs him closer. “But you know they do plastic surgery for this sort of thing, if you’re interested. Or Carvery Slaughter will do it for free, after you’ve had a few pints.”
I thought they were making that kind of surgery on women illegal in most of the world now? I struggle to keep my thoughts on track. Concentrate! Focus on the clockwork hand and the diary, Sarah!
The attendant zombies stand like sentinels at the four corners of the room, motionless, going nowhere.
“Just relax and enjoy yourself, Mr. Bumgang,” Lady Glandula continues, in a sing-song tone. The tentacle is making short work of Ace’s clothing. I hope some of those flying buttons land close enough to make it into my Ace Bumgang souvenir box. “Technically, I am a widow now – if that helps.”
“Yes, and your kids are happily playing upstairs too,” Ace agrees, trying to detach a sucker from his left nipple. “I think I’ll take that drink now, if you’re still offering.”
Abruptly, she snaps her fingers at one of the attendant zombies who led us down here, and it turns away to the bar to comply.
I crawl to his former position and hide in a fold of the drapes, hoping for a clearer view… er, of the diary and the golden clockwork hand, of course…
Classic scene from The Graduate (1967) – Enjoy 🙂
More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum
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